Thursday, March 8, 2018

The Violence of Popular Entertainment

From The National Review:
 Since the mass shooting in Parkland, Fla., a considerable amount of energy has understandably been expended on the matter of which guns should be available to whom and when. But it is striking that the president’s comments on Thursday about film and video-game violence have been either derided or glossed over. They are worth lingering on.
Most of us probably inhabit a kind of bubble when it comes to violence on screen. We choose to watch the sorts of films we think we’ll like and, unless we are film critics, get to avoid the sorts of films we think will bore or repel us. Until we become parents, most of us probably pay no particular attention to the drip-feed of blood and gore that now forms the basis of almost all popular entertainment. As it happens, I’ve had to be on a lot of planes recently, and have used some of the time to watch movies I would never otherwise seek out. Apart from concluding that the Oscars shouldn’t award anyone for anything this year (can’t the whole thing just be called off?), I have mainly been repulsed at the extreme violence (often mixed with the most crass “sexiness”) that seems now to be the cinematic norm.

I could describe the sheer awfulness of Charlize Theron in Atomic Blonde, a long-legged female spy dispatching her male foes in gruesome fashion between coolly pouring herself drinks, but I didn’t make it to the end. Far worse was a film I did slog all the way through, Kingsman 2. I won’t bother to explain the risible plot, but it is presented as a sort of cooler, wryer, modern take on James Bond. Certainly all the advertising for it, the cast, and the buttons it presses make it clear that it is not aimed at an adult audience. I was surprised at the opening to see that it had an R rating, not least because I had heard people (including an air-stewardess) talking about having taken their children to see it.
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1 comment:

julygirl said...

I remember being horrified when a friend of mine took her 4 year old to see "JAWS" which now seems tame compared to current films.